Although the shoulder season in Sun Peaks lacks the hustle-and-bustle of high season activity, many residents may be surprised by how busy Sun Peaks is behind the scenes.
The resurgence of tour-bus tourism following the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008 and the popularity of Sun Peaks hotels for corporate retreats, conferences and school groups means Sun Peaks is poised for one of its strongest May to June periods in several years.
Christopher Nicolson, president of Tourism Sun Peaks (TSP) said visitor numbers had been steadily growing since the crash of 2008.
It’s forecast to be our strongest May in the last four years, and looking ahead it’s forecast to be one of our top two June’s since 2008.
“Within the month of May, Sun Peaks is poised to do around 5,000 room nights. Just after the crash, that number would’ve dropped well below 4,000.”
Nicolson said the tour-bus market was particularly hit after the GFC.
“One of the markets that’s very susceptible to the GFC is the retiree or semi-retiree market. They’re very dependent on investments and savings for their retirement. If the global economy becomes unstable, their reaction is that they won’t travel and they’ll hunker down and be very careful with their savings.
“If you think of the profile of most of our guests that come through on tour buses in May and June, they tend to fit that.”
The business community was also heavily impacted by the events of the GFC — leading to a downturn in corporate retreats or conferences. Nicolson said this market is also rebuilding: “Those two markets had immediate impacts after 2008.”
Gemma Harris, owner of Alpine Images, has kept her store open in the afternoons because of the extra bus tour traffic.
“Some days are pretty good and other days are pretty quiet, but thinking back to other Mays, there are definitely more people walking around.”
Kevin Tessier, owner of Voyageur Bistro, said he was feeling confident about the season ahead, but felt the bus tour market has been slower to take off than previous years.
“I feel like we’re about a week behind. We’ve lost some of our long-standing customers but we’ve also gained some new ones this season. I think it will hold its own (on previous years),” Tessier said.